Former council gardener in bid to save parks nursery

Former council gardener Peter Fawcett has begun a campaign against the possible closure of council-run Bradley Nursery in Huddersfield.

Fawcett retired from Kirklees Council’s parks department after 32 years in 2010.

He said he believes a decision has been made to stop growing plants in Kirklees' nursery - although the council says a number of options are still being considered which include its continuation.

Fawcett added: "The nursery is run by one part time manager, one full time gardener and five seasonal workers, who transplanted 50,000 plants for the spring bedding displays in three days and that included filling the trays with compost feeding them into the automatic transplanted, and setting them out in the green houses.

"The nursery has a automatic capillary watering system. It also has a low energy boiler system with a minimum low heat setting. I think it is arguably one of the most efficient nurseries of it's type in the UK. 

"Also the nursery not just about the production of plants for bedding . The nursery also supplies hanging baskets - private suppliers of these would be cheaper. But who will water them? If the watering and placing them out is added, then the cost in my opinion would higher".

He added: "There is another task which is undertaken by the nursery very efficiently. That is the supply of floral displays for town halls. Civic visits and events. A good example was the French garden set out in George Square Huddersfield during the Tour de France last year.

"The nursery also serves as a vital facility for the training of apprenticed gardeners. They are the future. You cannot be a complete gardener if you have not had the experience of growing plants from a seed or a cutting to there flowering fruition. If apprentices have not been able to do that it will harm their horticultural education. They will be glorified labourers not horticulturist.  As we know skills and standards have been gradually eroded over the last eight years. 

"It a very short sighted idea and one which I both regret and totally oppose. I do hope you will help save this unique 150 year old heritage as  - once its gone its gone forever."

Despite the concerns, the council said no decisions have yet been made and a number of options were being looked at.

The council's Rob Dalby told HW: "We're still in discussion about what we are going to do about plant supply and we are looking at how we manage plant supply going forward. We're not shutting the options down. The options are to have a nursery, have a nursery somewhere else or to supply plants externally."

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